Many bloggers dream of making decent money by blogging while they simultaneously travel around the world.
There is no denying it: It’s a fun thing to do.
Whether you’re hiking through Torres del Paine in Patagonia or unwinding on a beach in Bali, you’ll get to see the world, taste new food, and meet new people while blogging during your downtime.
I was fortunate enough to have had that kind of experience. I traveled pretty extensively throughout Asia; and blogged my way through it all. I have to say that the flexibility to play during work time and work efficiently during playtime is perhaps the biggest perk of working as a full-time blogger.
(That said, however, I don’t travel much these days. And when I do, I have kids with me — a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old.)
While I’m no longer gallivanting around the globe, I thought I might share my best productivity tips with you in this post. Wondering how you can ensure that you are working efficiently while you’re on the road? These tips might just be the key to figuring it out.
Armed with these 21 productivity tips, I’m confident that you’ll have no trouble at all striking the perfect balance between work and play, maximizing your productivity while still enjoying all of the experiences travel has to offer.
Set up the right mindset
In a buddhist temple In Phuket, Thailand; 2013.
1. Treat your blog like a real business
Take your blog seriously.
Treat your associates, including your co-bloggers, editors, graphic designers, etc., just like you would treat any other business partner, and have a purpose in everything you do.
Remember, you need real partners who can support you during difficult times.
Imagine missing your connecting flight to Lima and ending up trapped in the Bogota airport overnight. How are you going to meet that 9 a.m. deadline if you don’t have Wi-Fi and you have to board a flight at 8 a.m.? When you unexpectedly find yourself in a bind, you need reliable partners who can pick up your slack. This means putting the time and effort into cultivating professional relationships with your associates.
Tips from Matthew, Expert Vagabond
I spend money advertising on Facebook. I spend money advertising on Twitter. In fact I’ll do both for this article you are reading right now. I also pay for advertisements on other blogs.
Treat your blog like a business if you want to make a living with it.
2. Separate your work- and play-time clearly
When you are on the road, the boundaries between work and play tend to blur.
Why not take your laptop to the beach and work on your latest post in between surf sessions? Not only is this simply impractical, it will kill your productivity.
When you are traveling, you need to set firm boundaries between work time and playtime.
Play is play. Work is work.
Separate the two clearly, as our brain is not designed for multitasking. Don’t believe me? Check out this video by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The reality is that for 99% of us, the more we multitask, the less productive we are.
Sandboarding at Moreton Island, Brisbane Australia; 2007.
The key to staying productive is to stay focused. That means minimizing distractions and noise. Sure, you might not have an office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a conducive workspace. Try working in a quiet café or hunkering down in your hotel room if it has a desk.
3. Shut down new email notifications.
This is the absolute first thing I do every time I set up Outlook in a new laptop. To be productive, you need to stay focused and eliminate as many distractions as you possibly can.
There is nothing worse than receiving a new email notification every 5 minutes while you are trying to finish writing a post about Bali’s five most spectacular off-the-beaten-path beaches.
Remember, when you’re blogging on the road, you don’t have an office readily available where you can seek solace from distractions, so you have to do a lot of “distraction-proofing” on your own if you want to get work done.
4. Only check your email a few times per week.
It’s your email inbox, and you are free to set your own rules.
You don’t have to check your email every day.
When I am working on an important project, I opt not to check my emails during work hours, as I find this dramatically boosts my productivity. Even answering what might seem like a simple email can kill half an hour of your time and disrupt your work rhythm. Remember, most of the time emails can wait. You’re better off getting the important stuff done first.
5. Stop checking social media every 15 minutes.
Don’t waste precious hours of your day scrolling through your Instagram and Facebook feeds. Social media is an excellent tool to help you stay connected with your loved ones at home while you are traveling, but the key is to use it in moderation.
When you’re checking social media every 15 minutes, it becomes a major time suck, and it will hamper your productivity. If you can’t cut down on the time you are spending on social media yourself, that are plenty of apps that can help.
In Brienz, Switzerland; 2012.
6. Get important things done first.
Before you start your workday, make a list of things you need to get done.
Then star the tasks that are most critical, and get those done first. You are more productive at the beginning of the workday, so you will get more done if you tackle the biggest, most important projects while your concentration and motivation are at their peaks.
Tips from Caz, Y Travel Blog
You can’t create with the incessant head drama. It’s impossible to direct powerful energy into two different places at the same time.
You gotta work on clearing your mind. Create some strategies, cull the head renters, meditate daily, and practice mindfulness. You’ll open up a huge space of time for clarity and productivity.
7. Use Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique is an excellent way to keep your productivity levels high throughout your working hours.
What’s the secret behind this technique? Stay laser focused for 25 minutes and rest for 5 minutes. Repeat four times, and then take a longer, 15-minute break and start the process over again.
The idea is that frequent, consistent breaks help you keep your mind focused, improving overall concentration and, in turn, productivity. You can find more information about this great technique here.
The Pomodoro Technique in brief.
8. Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you show up at the bus station in Santiago to decide whether you’re heading north to San Pedro de Atacama or south to Puerto Montt.
Have a travel plan in advance, and try to stick to it. Just winging it on the road will cost you in terms of time, energy, and monetary resources. You will be much more productive if you have a plan with set working hours and deadlines.
Check out KeriLynn’s article on how to cut down your marketing time in half with the right tools and planning.
9. Take notes always.
In a few weeks, you might not remember the name of that great restaurant you ate at in Corfu while you were traveling through Greece.
The easiest solution is to always have a notebook and a pen with you so you can jot down relevant details about experiences.
These days, I carry a notebook (the paper type, not a laptop) and Evernote in my iPhone when I travel. For tips and tricks on how to take great travel notes, be sure to check out this great post by Kevin Muldoon.
10. Keep a list of headline hacks.
Headlines are arguably the most important aspect of every single blog post.
Research shows that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline. But only 2 out of 10 people will actually take the time to read your entire post.
Good headlines will draw more attention and help build a stable following of readers.
Always have a list of headline hacks on hand for times when you need to develop the perfect headline in a time crunch.
11. Track news and new blog posts efficiently
Use tools like Feedly and Flipboard to get fresh content and news in one place. Avoid oversubscribing to blogs’ newsletters, as it will only cram your inbox.
There is no need to do everything yourself.
Personally, I outsource some of my writing and design work. The ideas are always mine, but I normally opt to have someone who writes much better than I can to actually lay down the words.
Also, having someone you can trust to check your work helps a lot! I am lucky to have my editor, Lori Soard, who has been supporting my blogging operation for years.
13. Schedule your social media posts.
Manually posting to social media is a time suck. Use automated scheduling to free up that time.
14. Work anywhere anytime with your mobile phone
Treat your smart phone as your workstation.
When it comes to maintaining your productivity on the road, your smartphone is one of your biggest allies.
Setup your smartphone so that you maximize its potential as a work tool. Make sure that you install all necessary apps so that you can work effectively via your phone, and make sure that you configure it so that you can work anytime, anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection when needed.
Try these apps:
- To-do list: Appigo, Any.do, and Wunderlist.
- Project management: Trello, WorkFront (formerly AtTask).
- Goal tracking: Strides, LifeTick.
- Automation: IFTTT, Zapier, SortMyBox (work with Dropbox).
- Social media: Heyo, Tweetbot, Facebook Pages Manager, FlipBoard.
- File storage: Google Drive, One Drive.
15. Have big visions but set short-term goals
Set big goals in life, but always focus on small, quantitative steps in your to-do list.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It is good to have big goals in life, but you need to focus on putting one foot ahead of the other and progressing one mile at a time if you want to get anywhere.
So while a big life goal might be to earn $10,000 per month, it is the small steps in your to-do list (write three new posts before X date, reach out to five bloggers for guest posting before Y date, etc.) that will actually allow you to meet that big goal.
Enjoy and live life to the fullest
In Santorini, Greece; 2010.
16. Celebrate both small and big achievements.
When you meet a goal, take the time to celebrate, even if the achievement isn’t necessarily a big one. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It could be something as simple as spending the day exploring a new beach or going out at night for some beers with friends.
17. Stay motivated.
Whether you were pick pocketed while sleeping on the night bus from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, or you missed your flight to Hong Kong and are scrambling to find another one, when you are on the road, things will go wrong.
There will be a time when you need to let some travel plans go and simply chill all day long in your hostel or hotel room. The key is to not let this hold you back.
Always be prepared to face new challenges, and don’t let the setbacks keep you down!
18. Exercise or meditate regularly.
A consistent, regular exercise or meditation regimen can do wonders for your productivity. I exercise regularly even when I travel, from long walks on the beach to ballgames with the locals.
It’s important to keep a clear mind, and I find exercise helps me tremendously in doing so.
Many people also find meditation to be an invaluable tool in keeping a clear, focused mind. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi starts her day off with a 45-minute power walk, while Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ CEO Frits van Paaschen runs 10 miles. Condoleezza Rice gets up at 4:30 a.m. to work out no matter where in the world she happens to be, and mogul Richard Branson insists that his exercise routine gives him 4 extra hours of productivity per day.
The bottom line? Highly successful people tend to have an exercise routine that works for them. So should you.
19. Don’t worry too much about what others are doing.
Work hard when it’s work time; do not doubt yourself.
After all, the idea is to live free and enjoy your life. What others are doing with their lives is their business — not yours. Constantly comparing yourself to others will generate unnecessary anxiety and distract you from your work.
20. Avoid burnout
If you try to pound out work for 12 hours consecutively, you aren’t going to be productive.
You can only concentrate on one thing for so long. Plan your workday with breaks to give your mind the rest it needs. You will improve concentration and productivity.
Tips from Steph, Twenty Something Travel
You’ll probably want to throw in the towel, but don’t. This [Blogging] is a business that rewards tenacity. It took me a year to make my first dollar on my blog (which came as a totally unexpected and welcome surprise). All of my major milestones have been hard fought and hard won. It’s a business of tiny battles and relentlessly slow climbing up and up. It’s not an easy road, but the people who are going to make it, are the ones who don’t give in.
– Source: My 9 Biggest Tips for Blogging Success
21. Have fun.
Last but not least, take the time to enjoy all of the wonderful experiences that travel has to offer.
I mean – that’s the whole point of making a living via travel blogging, right?
Never forget to have fun while you are on the road.